Designing and building your very first mobile app can be quite challenging. To help give you a general overview of the process, I’ve put together this 12-step introductory guide. This article is Part 2, covering steps 7 through 12. Make sure you read A 12-Step Guide to Building Your Very First Mobile App: Part 1
first to review steps 1 through 6.
Let’s summarize first: You’ve had an idea, sketched it out on paper, and created a testable wireframe prototype. Although it feels as if most of the work has already been done, the truth is that the actual process is just about to start!
This infographic provides a nice overview of the development of an Android or iOS app. It has been created from a survey of 100 developers and put into place based on their feedback (Note: You will find the wireframing process in this graphic near the end, whereas many developers will do their wireframes at the beginning of the project.)
How long does it take to make a mobile app?
Step 7: Build the Back End of Your App:
Now that your app has been defined pretty clearly, it is time to get started on the back end of your system. Your developer will have to set up servers, databases, APIs, and storage solutions.
Another important thing on your to-do list at this stage is signing up for developer accounts at the app marketplaces you are developing for. Getting your account approved may take several days (depending on the platform) and shouldn’t be left to the last minute.
Step 8: Design the App “Skins”:
“Skins” are what designers/developers call the individual screens needed for the app. Your designer’s job is now to come up with high-resolution versions of what were previously your wireframes.
In this step it is crucial to include all comments from your prototype testers (see Step 6
After all, you are trying to build an app your target audience is actually going to use, therefore their feedback should guide you toward to the perfect UI-User Interface.
Step 9: Test Again (Yes, Again)
Once your designer has completed the design skins, you’re up for another round of testing. Don’t think that you are all set with what you’ve done so far. For the first time you have your actual app concept completely in place, all the graphics inserted, and all text as it should be. Which means you can finally test your app in the way it will really look and feel.
To test your app, two great testing apps come to mind: Solidify
These apps allow you to import your app designs and add links where needed to test the flow from screen to screen.
Don’t confuse this stage with Step 6 (wireframing). At first it was about creating the basic look and feel of the app. Here you’ve implemented the actual design and made it clickable.
Step 10: Revise and Continue to Build
Once you’ve given your design a test drive and collected more feedback from future users, you should use these new ideas to polish your app idea. You can still ask your designer to change the layout, and you can still tell your developer to change something on the back end.
Step 11: Refine Each Detail
As you continue to build you will want to have a constant look at your new app. On Android, for example, it is easy to install your app file on a device to test its functionality in a live environment. iOS is different. There you will require a platform like TestFlight
to download and test your app as it proceeds.
This step is the last step in the app development process. You can monitor your app all the way until your product is complete.
Step 12: Release Time!
App marketplaces have very different policies when it comes to publishing a new app. Android, for example, does not review newly submitted apps right away. They’ll pass by at some point and check it out but you are able to instantly add your app to Google Play
iOS, once again, is different here.
Apple reserves the right to review and approve your app
before it can go live. There is no set timeframe for this, but you can expect at least a week before you hear back from them.
To overcome this hold there is something else you can do: submit your app to PreApps
. As you can probably guess from its name, PreApps is an app marketplace that gives developers the opportunity to reach early adopters (a.k.a. “lead users” — people who like to be first at trying out new inventions) and receive some of the very earliest feedback on your masterpiece.
Once you’ve gotten your app listed on the app stores of choice, it is time to market your app and get it seen, but that’s a topic for a whole other future article!